Former Secret Service agent weighs in on mass shooting response, safety

Mass shootings can happen any place, at any time, according to retired secret service agent Greg Gitschier, who is now in the private security industry. He says it doesn't matter if you're at a large event like Thunder or Derby or shopping at a local groc

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – In the wake of the tragic events in Las Vegas many are asking what steps you can take to protect yourself in the event of a mass shooting situation.

WHAS11 is on your side with answers after speaking with retired Secret Service agent Greg Gitschier who is now in the private security industry.

Gitschier says it doesn't matter if you're at a large event like Thunder, Derby, or shopping at a local grocery store there are always ways to protect yourself.

"In this society, in this world we're living in, we're seeing more and more of this,” Gitschier said. "This is one person inflicting such horrible damage.  Can you imagine if it was a team organized effort how much more they could have done?"

After spending more than 3 decades in law enforcement, including 22 years in the Secret Service, Greg Gitschier looks at mass shootings differently than the average Joe.

"It's just a tough situation when you go into one of these unknowns,” Gitschier said. “Nobody really knew where the shots were coming from for the longest time. This guy is just unloading, unloading long guns and rifles into this crowd.  The quicker you can get to him and subtract him, neutralize him, the better."

Gitschier praised local law enforcement's quick work to neutralize the shooter but says in situations like these bullets aren't the only cause for concern.

"A lot of people I'm sure were injured because of mass panic,” Gitschier said. “If you think about our events in Louisville from Thunder, Derby, Oaks, that's one of our concerns is mass panic."

However, there are simple steps that you can take to protect yourself and it starts by putting the phone down and identifying the exits.

"The cavalry is coming,” Gitschier said. “Your job is to stay alive until the cavalry gets there, so that's why it's critical that you run, you hide, or if you have to fight.  Don't just be there at their mercy. Get a couple of people together men, women. Hit them with something, shoot them with the fire extinguisher, but fight your way out."

In large situations like this Gitschier says it can be hard to identify where shots are coming from, but there are a number of things that you don't want to do which includes freezing.

He says once you start running keep running until you are well clear of the area.

© 2017 WHAS-TV


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